Myanmar Burns as Group Seizes Border, China Spooked, India Calls for Peace

2 mins read
2023 11 27T103050Z 944088102 RC2ML4A6G6U7 RTRMADP 3 MYANMAR VIOLENCE

Since October, Shan province in the Myanmar-China border region and adjoining areas have witnessed clashes and unrest as an armed alliance of three ethnic minority groups launched an offensive against the Aung Min Hlaing-led junta.

On Sunday, the ethnic rebels – composed of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Arakan Army (AA) and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) – seized control from the country’s ruling junta of a lucrative border crossing to China. The rebels have now extended their gains in northern Myanmar and are now in control of dozens of military positions and a town important for trade with China.

This is a problem for the junta, whose cash reserves are running low, as commercial routes are now choked. “MNDAA also reported they seized one more border trade gate, which is called Kyin San Kyawt, in Monekoe area, Muse district this morning,” Kokang News, a Myanmar-based news agency, said in a report.

The MNDAA hoisted their flag at the border trade zone at Kyin San Kyawt. The Kyin San Kyawt is a major trading point along the Myanmar-China border.

This trading point is important because it allows machinery, electrical appliances, agricultural tractors, and consumer items to enter the country.

OPERATION 1027 AND ROAD TO NAYPYITAW

“We are continuing our attacks in northern Shan State,” said Kyaw Naing, a spokesperson for the MNDAA.

A parallel government formed by pro-democracy politicians to oppose the junta allied with some insurgent groups. They have launched a “Road to Naypyitaw” campaign which is aimed at taking control of the capital.

The rebels are also running “Operation 1027”, which has seen unprecedented coordination between anti-military forces, and under which the rebels have taken control of several towns and more than 100 security outposts.

IS CHINA WORRIED?

China is worried about the ongoing conflict between the rebels and the junta in Myanmar. Its security concerns have heightened to such an extent that it began military exercises along its border with Myanmar on Saturday and urged its citizens to leave the north of that country.

Myanmar’s northern Shan state has already witnessed the displacement of more than 80,000 people due to the clashes. Some of these people have also entered China.

Beijing’s Southern Theatre Command said it launched “combat training activities” along the border with Myanmar to “test the ability of troops… to control and close borders and to strike with firepower” and remains “ready to respond to all kinds of emergencies”.

The exercise was launched one day after a convoy of trucks carrying goods into Myanmar went up in flames. Myanmar state media called it an insurgent attack and the incident forced the Chinese envoy to meet top officials in Myanmar’s capital for talks on border stability.

The rebels claim that they did not commit the act and said they would not take any action that it detrimental to the citizens of Myanmar.

IMPACT ON INDIA

India has been impacted by the unrest in Myanmar. Earlier in November, a few dozen Myanmarese soldiers fleeing the ethnic rebels entered India to save themselves from being slaughtered.

India sent back most of them within that week itself through another border crossing, according to a report by Reuters.

The spokesperson for external affairs ministry Arindam Bagchi on November 17 said that India wishes for lasting peace in Myanmar and is concerned over the escalation of violence. “We reiterate our call for the return of peace, stability and democracy in Myanmar. As a result of the fighting [at] Rihkhawdar area in Chin State, opposite Zokhawthar in Mizoram on the India-Myanmar border, there has been movement of Myanmar nationals to the Indian side. We are deeply concerned with such incidents close to our border,” Bagchi said.

In the first two weeks of November, at least 5,000 people from Myanmar, fleeing the violence have crossed into Mizoram. “More than 5,000 people took refuge in two Mizoram villages along the Myanmar border. As many as about 20 are injured. Eight of them are taken to Aizawl for better medical treatment and the rest are being treated in Champhai,” the Mizoram Police said, according to a report by Livemint.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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